A Note From Brad Micklin
Alimony rights for men are more complicated today than they ever have been. There are two sides to the discussion on men’s alimony rights. In an era where traditional gender roles are rapidly changing, as a man, you should have an equal opportunity to receive alimony. On the other hand, did you know that men represent 97% of alimony payers? If you are the big income earner, you should not assume you will automatically pay alimony or support your ex for the rest of her life. I’m here to guide you through the complexities of your alimony options so you land on your feet and are well-prepared to start the next chapter of your life – without an unrealistic alimony obligation.
Why Alimony Rights for Men Matter
You’re getting divorced for a reason. You may feel like alimony is like pouring salt in the wound. Thankfully, New Jersey requires some very specific guidelines be met which can ultimately protect you from paying too much, for too long.
In 2014 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill designed to reform the alimony system in our state. Many of these reforms will benefit you as we seek to negotiate your alimony obligation (if any). A few things you should know about this law: you need to worry about what was referred to as “permanent” alimony – court-ordered payments that could last for years and years. In fact, if you have been married less than 20 years, your alimony payments should not exceed the number of years you have been married and may even be significantly less.
What if you lose your job? Not to worry. If you are out of work for three months, we can petition the court to reduce your alimony payments and child support, where in the past you would have to wait at least 6 months.
What Our Clients Say
“Mr. Micklin worked very hard for my divorce. My ex failed to show many times and Mr. Micklin got it done in spite of her attempts to drag it out. He explained everything step by step, laid out what my options were and handled the court system very professionally. I do not know what else you could ask for. I knew what to expect in plain terms anyone could understand. I never felt out of place or uninformed during the entire process which was complicated in my case.” – Mike M.
The first thing we do is to determine what the equitable distribution of your marital property – assets you built together and debts you incurred while married. This is where we split the pie and negotiate who owes what and what assets you will split. Traditionally alimony enters the picture if, for example, your spouse put their career on hold to take care of the children by serving as the stay-at-home parent. Remember that alimony is not meant to penalize you, but to help your spouse to get back on her feet post-divorce.
It is possible you might have to pay what is called Pendente Lite Alimony – temporary alimony – until your divorce is finalized. The good news is that New Jersey no longer supports permanent alimony so working with me to negotiate your alimony payment will be critical. There is a lot more to it than plugging a few numbers into an “alimony calculator.” I can help you review your options and negotiate terms that won’t break the bank on the lifestyle you are used to living.
Based on his work as a litigator, Brad has earned numerous successful results, including successfully arguing the lead case in New Jersey divorce law defining the laws concerning limited duration alimony and its modification. In addition to his litigation and negotiation experience, Brad also has extensive training and experience in the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. After serving as a mediator for the Attorney General’s Office in Delaware, he received certification as a mediator through the Superior Court of New Jersey. He later received an invitation to serve as a commercial arbitrator from the Assignment Judge, Union County, New Jersey.
Type of Client: Man in a short-term marriage with no children and no joint assets or debts. He believed it would be amicable.
Client’s Issue: Having to pay alimony indefinitely.
Our Approach: We told him not to hire us initially because his legal fee costs would outweigh any benefit we would be able to offer. Instead, we advised him to file the papers on his own. We gave him instructions on where to find the forms, reviewed them for him and advised him to file and serve them himself. We then counseled him on what simple terms to place into a settlement agreement that he could take to his wife.
Result: He was able to file, settle, and get divorced within about 6 months and did not have to incur any legal fees.
Type of Client: Middle-age man, main breadwinner in long-term marriage with significant alimony concerns.
Client’s Issue: Fear of the amount and duration of alimony.
Our Approach: First, we sat down and discussed the general parameters of his alimony exposure and the tax consequences and potential adjustments to his with holdings to allow a larger net paycheck. Then, we ran an analysis of the current bills and expenses for which he would no longer be responsible, such as housing, medical insurance, car payment,and entertainment, so he could compare his marital expenses to his new, lower, projected personal expenses. Next, we interviewed employability experts to gauge the potential level of employability for his wife.
Result: We were able to utilize the information obtained from the various experts we interviewed to come to an agreement with his wife as to her imputed income. Doing so eliminated the potentially significant cost of the expert and the litigation that would follow, and settled the matter.
Resources for You
FAQ: Alimony Rights for Men
Since every situation is unique and different, you should know there are a number of factors the courts use to determine what you will pay and for how long. In new Jersey there are thirteen factors that courts use in determining the alimony amount and how long you will pay. These factors include the length of the marriage, as well as your age, your spouse’s age, and each of your levels of physical health.
Yes, if the financial and lifestyle circumstances allow, either spouse can be awarded alimony.
Sometimes alimony is short-term, lasting only through the divorce, and sometimes it can be very long-term. There are certain factors that will always end alimony, so it isn’t necessarily permanent.
Alimony is calculated based on the income and earning potential of both spouses in addition to other lifestyle factors. It is different for every couple.
If you may be paying or receiving alimony, it can be more beneficial to focus on estimating your own alimony. A family law attorney can help you with your estimates.
Alimony will end when the paying party retires, when there is a drastic change in the financial circumstances of a party, or when one spouse is cohabitating with someone new.
Alimony does stop when one spouse is cohabitating with someone new, but the definition of cohabitation is subjective and determined by shared finances, length of relationship, and other factors.